#unCOVERED: Guo Pei – Queen of Couture

Guo Pei will open Singapore Fashion Week ’16 with 2 Show Seatings

Opening Singapore Fashion Week 2016 with 2 show seatings this Wednesday is the much anticipated haute couturer, Guo Pei. Hailed as China’s Queen of Couture, Guo Pei, who has been designing since the early ’90s, is responsible for the head-turning golden dress worn by Rihanna last year at the 2015 Met Gala. According to a report by Fashionista.com, the dress weights in at 55 pounds, and took 20 months to make.

Rihanna wears Guo Pei's creation at the Met Gala 2015
Rihanna wears Guo Pei’s creation at the Met Gala 2015

#unCOVERED: A Moment with Guo Pei

COVERED: What inspired you to take your first steps towards studying fashion design?

COVERED:是什么促使你迈出学习时装设计的第一步的

TIME Magazine lists Guo Pei amongst the world's 100 most influential people. (Photo Source: www.bbc.com/news/business-33239852)
TIME Magazine lists Guo Pei amongst the world’s 100 most influential people. (Photo Source: www.bbc.com/news/business-33239852)

GUO PEI: I grew up with my grandmother in kindergarten. She was born during the Qing Dynasty, My fondest impression of my grandmother was when she told me that growing up, she always wore “smooth” clothes. As I closed my eyes and listening her story, I pictured in my mind that she was wearing slippery-smooth clothes, embroidered with beautiful flowers. This vision was so vivid in my mind, that it influenced me to want to create the most beautiful clothes. That is why at a very young age, I begin to learn painting. My biggest wish at that time was to enter an academy. During my elementary school, I altered and fixed my own clothes. Up to then, China was never offered a certification in fashion design. It was only in 1982, that China offered its first fashion design certification. Without hesitation, I entered myself for an examination in fashion design.

GUO PEI: 我在上幼儿园之前是跟祖母长大的,她是清朝那时候出生,我印象最深的就是她跟我讲她小时候穿的衣服是滑滑的,我闭着眼睛听着她讲故事,脑海里浮现出她穿着滑滑的衣服绣着漂亮的花朵,都是那么地真实,我就特别想把这种美丽给实现出来。所以我小时候就非常喜欢画画,最大的愿望是考美院。小学五六年级时,我都是自己给自己修改衣服。中国以前是没有服装设计专业的,很幸运的是,1982年中国有了第一个服装设计专业,于是我毫不犹豫的报考了服装设计。

Guo Pei's "The Arabian 1002th Night" shown at a 2013 fashion week in Singapore (Photo Source: www.chinadaily.com.cn/photo/2013-10/17/content_17039966_7.htm)
Guo Pei’s “The Arabian 1002th Night” shown at a 2013 fashion week in Singapore (Photo Source: www.chinadaily.com.cn/photo/2013-10/17/content_17039966_7.htm)

“My fondest impression of my grandmother was when she told me that growing up, she always wore “smooth” clothes.” – Guo Pei on her inspiration to becoming a fashion designer.

COVERED: It has been 19 years since you created your own fashion brand. When would you say was the moment when you felt your creations started getting noticed, and what do you most attribute it to.

COVERED: 您创立时装品牌已经有19年了,您认为您的作品是什么时候开始受到关注的,为什么?

Guo Pei Oriental Inspired Shoes (Photo Source: art-sheep.com/guo-pei-20-facts-about-the-designer-everyone-is-talking-about/)
Guo Pei Oriental Inspired Shoes (Photo Source: art-sheep.com/guo-pei-20-facts-about-the-designer-everyone-is-talking-about/)

GUO PEI: Upon graduating, I served as the chief designer for the clothing brand Pegasus. I feel that it was from that moment on that I felt my work started to gain recognition. In 1997, I was interviewed and my work was reported on “Asahi Shimbun“, and also in an Australian made documentary. In 2006 I showed my first collection titled “Reincarnation”. It was from after that show, that my work started to get recognized not just in China but also at an international level. I felt this was the first big highlight in my career after having done “sur mesure” (bespoke tailoring) at my own company for nearly ten years. This was my first breakthrough, the result of 10 years of learning to truly hone the art of “sur mesure“.  Moving forward I then created “大金” or “big gold” which required 50 thousand hours to complete. From then on, I firmly believed that Haute Couture was the only road for me.

GUO PEI 可以说我从校园出来,担任成衣品牌天马首席设计师的时候,我的作品就已经开始受到了关注。1997年的《朝日新闻》和澳洲的一个纪录片都对我进行了采访和报道。但广泛被国际时尚界设计界所关注是在2006年,我的第一场作品发布“轮回”之后。可以说当时在中国国际时装上发布了这个作品系列之后,一时间,引来国际国内众多媒体的强烈反响。那是我做自己的公司,做定制设计近十年后的第一场发布,也是我真正意义上的高定作品发布,是我对设计对高定有了十多年积累之后的第一次爆发。在那场发布会上,我用5万个小时制作了“大金”,也是在做那场发布会之后我更加坚信高定是我唯一的设计道路。

Guo Pei "大金" (Photo Source: GuoPei.cn/Index/news/id/267)
Guo Pei “大金” (Photo Source: GuoPei.cn/Index/news/id/267)

COVERED: This year, we understand that you are now a guest member of the exclusive Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. This is a noteworthy accomplishment. To all aspiring local Singaporean designers out there, what would you say in encouraging them to pursue their dreams as a haute couture fashion designer?

COVERED:们知道今年您被法国时装公会邀请成为客座成员,这是一个非常引人注目的成就,对于所有不在受邀之列的新加坡本土有抱负的设计师,你想如何鼓励他们追求高级时装定制设计师的梦想呢

Photo Credits: Guo Pei by Pari Dukovic for the New Yorker (Photo Source: www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/03/21/guo-pei-chinas-homegrown-high-fashion-designer)
Photo Credits: Guo Pei by Pari Dukovic for the New Yorker (Photo Source: www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/03/21/guo-pei-chinas-homegrown-high-fashion-designer)

GUO PEI: I believe that to be invited to join the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture
is the dream of every designer, I think I am very fortunate. every step I’ve taken has always seemed to be in the right direction. I feel like haute couture is like a steep peak, one where the road to the top is narrow and rugged. Persevere on. Stay strong. Have faith and belief in yourself, and you will reach the peak.

GUO PEI: 我想能够参加巴黎高级时装周是每个设计师的梦想,我觉得我很幸运,在设计的道路上一直在向着正确的方向前行。我觉的高定就像一座陡峭的高峰,通向山顶的道路狭窄而崎岖。唯有坚持心中的信念,坚韧不拔的一路前行,才能最终达到顶峰。

Guo Pei is now a guest member of the exclusive Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. (Photo Source: art-sheep.com/guo-pei-20-facts-about-the-designer-everyone-is-talking-about/)
Guo Pei is now a guest member of the exclusive Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. (Photo Source: art-sheep.com/guo-pei-20-facts-about-the-designer-everyone-is-talking-about)

For the full schedule of shows at this year’s Singapore Fashion Week, check out the official website here. This year’s Singapore Fashion Week shows, and extra show highlights will be available to stream right here with Digital Fashion Week.

Nick T.

Managing Director & Managing Editor

"To be or not to be, is not what it should be, but what you think it can be." These are the words that stay firmly rooted in the heart and mind of Nicholas Tan. Better known to the media scene as Nick T., the media veteran has over 15 years of industry experience. Nick T. is the 2017 Executive Director of the Media Publishers' Association of Singapore, the Marketing Director at marketing and events consultancy, COM3, and is the Founder and Managing Director at COVERED Asia.

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